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Unlike the Cold War between two superpowers that spawned several popular novels , the decades-old tension between India and Pakistan hardly finds space in Indian fiction. Baqir Shameem’s “The Chenab Connection” is an exception. The novel by the retired brigadier from Indian Army deals with a love story transcending Indo-Pak borders with their tense relations as the backdrop. Having penned thrillers like “The Final Option”, “The Wishbone”, “Simmering Sands” and “Slender Trail”, the suggestion to write a romantic genre story came from his daughter-in-law. “Considering the times we live in where we are really missing this forgotten feeling and relationship, I decided that my next story should focus on love. Not just between two sexes but one with a wider humanistic spectrum, between people of different groups, religion, countries and age.” For this the legendary tales of Sohini-Mahiwal and Heer-Ranjha inspired him. “These folk lores really appealed to me a lot. Coincidentally, both are from the region where the river Chenab flows and the hence the title.”

The author has successfully depicted different shades of affection in the novel by outlining relationships between parents and children, friends, family members, people belonging to different faiths and regions and giving them ample content and depth. “I have experienced love from people and acquaintances of all communities and countries including Pakistan. Some of my characters in the novel reflect this,” he says. The love stories are not the usual ones as they are inter-religious and inter-regional like one between Ravi and Shaheen and Omar and Simran belonging to either sides of the border. On pointing such relationships lead to tension and threats, the writer says, “Those are from lumpen elements supported by power hungry politicians who target only the poor and helpless. What about the well placed personalities who have married outside the religion? Has ‘love jehad’ affected them too? The day a person considers his religion his personal faith and belief alone, whether to believe or not being his prerogative, such frivolous issues will vanish.”

https://www.thehindu.com/books/bringing-hearts-together/article18728462.ece

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Book Review: The Chenab Connection is a worthy addition to one’s bookshelf
The Chenab Connection by Baqir Shameem is a chronicle of relationships that triumphs against many odds.

Cover of the book The Chenab Connection.

The book opens well, with a woman at the wheel in a part of the Middle East where gunfire forms the backdrop of her going to the hospital. The frisson of fear in her mind transfers itself to the reader, especially if the reader is aware of the tinderbox situation in large parts of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. The serenity inside the hospital’s maternity ward creates a telling contrast, showing us how life goes on even amid an eruption of violence.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/books/book-review-the-chenab-connection-is-a-worthy-addition-to-one-s-bookshelf/story-EEXJ5PZ9uvSygQXcYxVzQN.html

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A retired Indian Army Brigadier has penned a fascinating love story that traverse between India and Pakistan in the backdrop of the divisive politics that has plagued the sub-continent for decades.

Brig. Baqir Shameem, the author of “The Chenab Connection” served in the Indian Army for over three decades and witnessed the growing cross-border conflict from close quarters.

“The Chenab Connection” is a fictional love story about an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl falling in love and managing to settle down and starting a family under the looming shadow of hatred that has grown stronger over the last seven decades.

It looks at the crisis and its nuances through the eyes of people who are in love; because sometimes all it takes is love to conquer all. In the case of Ravi, love makes him cross one of the most hostile borders in the world to be one with Shaheen.

The book is as much a love story as much as it is a look at the divisive politics that has plagued the sub-continent for decades, where terror and subversion have become second nature for hawks who find more comfort in conflict than in peace and harmony.

The book release was followed by a conversation with the author and journalist Tina Sharma Tiwari on the topic “Can Chenab connect the hearts and minds of the people like it connects the land?”

“Reading the book, for the first time I realised that an army man feels the same way a common man does. Everyone wants peace between the two nations and that can only be achieved through love, not war,” said veteran Theatre personality Rama Pandey, who graced the launch event.

“The Chenab Connection” is the author’s fifth novel. He has previously written four books on different subjects, including “The Final Option,” “The Simmering Sands.”

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Baqir Shameem’s latest page-turner, “The Chenab Connection”, emphasises on the importance of human bonds in times of conflict

https://www.thehindu.com/books/bringing-hearts-together/article18728462.ece

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Former soldier pens gripping tale of cross-border love: A retired Indian Army Brigadier has penned a fascinating love story that traverse between India and Pakistan in the backdrop of the divisive politics that has plagued the sub-continent for decades.

Untitled 2The Chenab Connection: Book Launch
Interview with the Author
Army Man Pens Gripping Indo-Pak Tale
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New Delhi: Baqir Shameem, a retired Brigadier from the Indian Army, released his book ‘The Chenab Connection’, a fascinating love story that traverse between India and Pakistan, in presence of a packed audience at an event held at the India International Centre, New Delhi,last evening.

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New Delhi: Author Brigadier (retd) Baqir Shameem’s book The Chenab Connection will be release in 27th April at India International Centre in New Delhi. During the book release ceremony Author Brigadier (retd) Baqir Shameem will be in conversation with Tina Sharma Tiwari and RJ Raunac. “Can Chenab connect the hearts and minds of the people like it connects the land” will be the topic for discussion.
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Army Man Pens Gripping Indo-Pak Tale
Baqir Shameem’s ‘The Chenab Connection’ explores the possibilities of an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl falling in love, under the looming shadow of hatred that has grown stronger in subcontinent.  Baqir Shameem, a retired Brigadier from the Indian Army, released his book ‘The Chenab Connection’, a fascinating love story that traverse between India and Pakistan, in presence of a packed audience at an event held at the India International Centre, New Delhi, on Thursday
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 Army Man Pens Gripping Indo-Pak Tale

Brigadier Shameem has served in the Indian Army for over three decades and witnessed the growing Indo-Pak conflict from close quarters. Speaking at the book release, Brigadier Shameem said, “After I completed my fourth book, my daughter-in-law Pooja asked me to write a love story. I thought if it had to be love, why not base it on regional folklore? Two folklores that immediately came to my mind are Sohni-Mahiwal and Heer-Ranjha. Coincidently, both these folklores are “from the Chenab region.”

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Media Infoline

Army Man Pens Gripping Indo-Pak Tale
The-Chenab-Connection
Brigadier Shameem has served in the Indian Army for over three decades and witnessed the growing Indo-Pak conflict from close quarters. Speaking at the book release, Brigadier Shameem said, “After I completed my fourth book, my daughter-in-law Pooja asked me to write a love story. I thought if it had to be love, why not base it on regional folklore? Two folklores that immediately came to my mind are Sohni-Mahiwal and Heer-Ranjha. Coincidently, both these folklores are “from the Chenab region.”

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Book Launch: The Chenab Connection

The story penned by Brigadier (retd) Shameem is a work of fiction; it looks at the crisis and its nuances through the eyes of people who are in love, for the beloved, for parents, for siblings, and for the country of one’s birth, because sometimes all it takes is love to conquer all.The Chenab Connection is as much a love story as it is a look at the divisive politics that has plagued the subcontinent for decades, where terror and subversion have become second nature for hawks, who find more comfort in conflict than in peace and harmony

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Defence Express                                                                             top

‘THE CHENAB CONNECTION’: CROSS BORDER SURGICAL STRIKE OF LOVE
The Chenab Connection is a fictional love story about an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl falling in love and managing to settle down, having a family, under the looming shadow of hatred that has grown stronger over the last seven decades. It looks at the crisis and its nuances through the eyes of people who are in love; because sometimes all it takes is love to conquer all. In the case of Ravi, love makes him cross one of the most hostile borders in the world to be one with Shaheen.
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Book Review: The Chenab Connection is a worthy addition to one’s bookshel

All About Book Publishing

Army man pens gripping Indo-Pak tale
The Chenab Connection is a fictional love story about an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl falling in love and managing to settle down, having a family, under the looming shadow of hatred that has grown stronger over the last seven decades.

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This is the story of The Chenab Connection, the latest work of Brigadier (retd) Baqir Shameem, who served in the Indian Army for three decades and witnessed the growing Indo-Pak conflict from close quarters. In this love story, with several twists and turns, he explores the possibilities of an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl falling in love and managing to settle down, having a family, under the looming shadow of hatred that has grown stronger over the last seven decades.
Don’t forget to drop your reviews in the comment section.

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Former soldier pens gripping tale of cross-border love.
The book is as much a love story as much as it is a look at the divisive politics that has plagued the sub-continent for decades, where terror and subversion have become second nature for hawks who find more comfort in conflict than in peace and harmony

Army Man Pens Gripping Indo-Pak Tale

Army-Man-Pens-Gripping-IndoINVC NEWS

New Delhi, Baqir Shameem, a retired Brigadier from the Indian Army, released his book ‘The Chenab Connection’, a fascinating love story that traverse between India and Pakistan, in presence of a packed audience at an event held at the India International Center, New Delhi,last evening . Brigadier Shameem has served in the Indian Army for over three decades and witnessed the growing Indo-Pak conflict from close quarters. Speaking at the book release, Brigadier Shameem said, “After I completed my fourth book, my daughter-in-law Pooja asked me to write a love story. I thought if it had to be love, why not base it on regional folklore? Two folklores that immediately came to my mind are Sohni-Mahiwal and Heer-Ranjha. Coincidently, both these folklores are “from the Chenab region.” The Chenab Connection is a fictional love story about an Indian boy and a Pakistani girl falling in love and managing to settle down, having a family, under the looming shadow of hatred that has grown stronger over the last seven decades. It looks at the crisis and its nuances through the eyes of people who are in love; because sometimes all it takes is love to conquer all. In the case of Ravi, love makes him cross one of the most hostile borders in the world to be one with Shaheen. Then there is Simran, and Omar, who fall in love under different circumstances and survive difficult situations to find happiness. The book was launched by Brigadier Shameem’s wife, Nilofar. The book release was followed by a conversation with the author and senior journalist, Tina Sharma Tiwari on the topic “Can Chenab connect the hearts and minds of the people like it connects the land?” Over the course of an engaging and candid discussion, Tina Sharma Tiwari said that, “I have been reading this book over a past couple of days and it is absolutely fascinating because at the center there is a love story but there is so much intrigue around it and the author has obviously drawn from his wealth of experience, talking about the army on both sides, the intelligence agencies; all of that gets woven into the plot and that’s very interesting.” The protagonist of the story, Ravi is a man in love and he is willing to do anything to be with his beloved, Shaheen. In his case, the roadblock is not just they are from two different communities; Shaheen stays in Pakistan, whereas Ravi is from Delhi. They had met as children when their families lived in Bahrain as neighbours. But life is often a difficult road and they get separated, as circumstances force Shaheen to return to her homeland, and Ravi settles down in Delhi. The book therefore is as much a love story as much as it is a look at the divisive politics that has plagued the subcontinent for decades, where terror and subversion have become second nature for hawks who find more comfort in conflict than in peace and harmony. The characters that that are imbibed in Ravi and Shaheen, are the reality of many people in India and Pakistan. People across the literature and defense fraternity, including author’s batch mates and senior army fellows, attended the launch. Rama Pandey, veteran TV journalist, theater personality and the founder of RATNAV Foundation, said, “Reading the book, for the first time I realized that an Army man feels the same way a common man does. Everyone wants peace between the two nations and that can only be achieved through love, not war.” The event ended with the author signing copies of his book for the ecstatic audience. ‘The Chenab Connection’ is the author’s fifth novel. He has previously written four books on different subjects, including ‘The Final Option’, ‘The Simmering Sands’, ‘The Slender Trail’, and ‘The Wishbone’. About the Author: Brigadier Baqir Shameem was born in rural Azamgarh of eastern Uttar Pradesh, and spent a better part of his childhood in the company of his grandfather, with his father away on missions with the Indian Air Force during World War II and thereafter across independent India. Following in his father’s footsteps, Brigadier Shameem joined the National Defense Academy to pursue a career in the armed forces. Commissioned to the Bombay Sappers, Corps of Engineers, the two-time recipient of the Chief of Army Staff’s Medal for meritorious and exceptional service, he took early retirement after 32 years of service. Post-retirement, he acted as the consultant of a top architectural firm in Bahrain and stayed there for the next ten years. During this time, he traveled extensively across the Middle East and gained firsthand knowledge of the region and its culture. Although his initial years of education was in Urdu, he later shifted to a reputed public school, where he was encouraged by his teachers to write more, after his essays and stories revealed a penchant for creativity and originality. Even though he had initially taken up writing as a hobby, his passion for the written word is now his trade craft. Brigadier Shameem currently splits his time between India and the US, where his children live.
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Truth be told…

“The Slender Trail presents an extreme case scenario and offers a very drastic solution. But that’s the only solution,” says Shameem who having spent a few years of his life working in Saudi Arabia, has seen first-hand most of the events mentioned in the book.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

The price of Osama
Amarinder Sandhu

The Final Option
by Baqir Shameem. Frog Books. Pages 126. Rs 200.

Sought by the Americans, Osama bin Laden and his aides are captured by a Pakistan army patrol. Did that get your attention? Well it did catch mine. The Final Option has a captivating beginning. The Wakham corridor, at the border of Afghanistan, China and Tajikstan is the strategic venue of this operation. An innocent mute child fond of chocolates leads the army to the most wanted man in the world.

The Americans want Osama badly, but Pakistan won’t let him be revealed that easily. Osama is a cult figure not only in that country “but also for a`A0majority of the population in the Middle East, North Africa, former Soviet states, Malaysia and Indonesia”. Pakistan cannot afford to antagonise the Muslim world, but Osama can be handed over to the US for a price, to which the Americans agree and give a nod for their indirect cooperation. The price is heavy—the “liberation” of Kashmir.

With India and Pakistan moving towards peace talks, the hotline between the operational headquarters of the Indian and Pakistani armies is suddenly activated. General Harinder Singh, who talks to Pakistani General Ibadat Beg, has some grave news for the Chief of the Army Staff. India’s security is under threat again. Either India should withdraw its troops from Kashmir or face serious nuclear consequences.

The author makes India appear as a military regime and not as a democracy. The Chief of the Army Staff takes the decisions without informing the Prime Minister or the National Security Advisor. The Field Commanders have a field day, behaving like warlords and treating their area of operation as personal fiefdoms. Ignoring protocol, evading perils and giving the appearance of normalisation, the Army bigwigs pass order to withdraw troops from along the LoC. Behind the scenes, the Army seems to have taken over the reins of the state, as India continues to function as a democracy.

India breeds men in uniform who are tougher and always resourceful. Every plot has its loopholes and every man has his weaknesses. A folder on Jehangir Khan, the military leader of Pakistan, shows his son and family residing in Chicago. The Indian Army comes up with a plan: kidnap the Pakistani President’s son and other members of the family. Col Asad Mustafa, a valiant Indian of good peasant stock, heads the kidnapping operation named Swarn. He is accompanied by his love interest, Swarnlatha, Maj Sanyal a military doctor, Wing Commander Moorthy, an ace pilot, and Col Patil.

The family is kidnapped from America, flown across half the globe in an Air India plane that stops at Heathrow for refueling and lands safety at Bangalore. A difficult mission, but easily accomplished!

Written in a simple language, the novel is contemporary indeed. The locales have been presented perfectly and the author has done a good job in characterising the Indian Army officers as perfect gentlemen. The readers are also introduced to the wily Americans and the`A0working of their intelligence agency, the over ambitious politician, Purohit, and Tekchand, the hapless steel magnate.

The Pakistani military leader plays the doting father and succumbs to his one weakness, withdrawing all his threats to India. The writer seems to have gone overboard in the plotting, with Mount Everest vanishing from the very face of the Earth. At times, the reader may question his legitimacy of reason. Shameem has addressed the current issues of terrorism, nuclear threats and security, but what happens to Osama? The book ends on a rather intriguing note.

  
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